For a delicious, whole food vitamin C supplement you need look no further than your kitchen!
Vitamin C supplements are flying off the shelves and have become about as hard to find as toilet paper these days. I know from working closely with UNI KEY Health that the demand for quality vitamin C has skyrocketed during this pandemic and they are doing their absolute best to keep products in stock.
Thankfully, UNI KEY has gotten in a fresh supply of Time C and Vitamin C Plus, with Vitality C powder and VitaCforte coming soon. But if you ever need backups, we’re here to help. While we’re spending more time in our kitchens, we can practice a little kitchen science to make our own whole food vitamin C supplement from foods and herbs we already have on hand.
When we supplement with vitamin C, it’s measured in thousands of milligrams, or grams. Food and herb sources of vitamin C are measured only in hundreds of milligrams, but they contain bioflavonoids, which increase the bioavailability of the vitamin C to make it comparable. I can’t give you an exact amount of C in these food sources because the amounts vary based on growing conditions and how cold it’s stored. The colder you store produce, the more quickly their vitamin C degrades.
To figure out dosing for whole food vitamin C, you simply listen to your body. When you take any vitamin C supplement, you’ll know you’re getting more than your body can handle when you start to experience loose stools. All you need to do if this happens is lower your dose slightly and this is how much vitamin C you can take daily.
Make a Citrus Peel Vitamin C Powder
Citrus fruits are naturally high in vitamin C, with lemons containing the highest amount. Any organic citrus you eat, wash and save the peel and the white pith just inside of it. The white pith is a bitter food, which stimulates bile production and better digestion.
Each orange peel will yield about ¼ cup of powder once it’s dried. I suggest starting with a dose of 1 to 2 Tablespoons of powder per day, or use the delicious herbal recipe in the next section.
Citrus Peel Vitamin C
Washed organic citrus peel and pith
- Slice the peels into thin strips to dry faster.
- In a food dehydrator, set the temperature to 100 degrees F and let dry until they break when bent, roughly 6 to 9 hours.
- If you don’t own a dehydrator, dry them in your oven. Place peels on a baking sheet in your oven, on the lowest setting possible. They will take 1 to 2 hours at 150 degrees F. Let cool before processing.
- Using an herb grinder, clean coffee grinder, or high speed blender, pulverize peels into a fine powder.
- Store in a dark colored (if possible) airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Many of the herbs commonly used to make herbal tea are high in vitamin C. You can purchase the powdered form of these herbs from online retailers and mix and match to make your own herbal vitamin C powder or “power balls.” If your favorite herbal store is out of stock, check Etsy for small farms offering these herbs.
Here are my Top 5 herbs for vitamin C:
- Acerola is a tropical cherry and is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin C in the world, according to researchers. The only place it grows in the US is South Texas. In 100 grams of the fruit, there is approximately 1678 milligrams of vitamin C.
- Amla, also known as Indian Gooseberry, is second only to acerola in its vitamin C content, with approximately 700 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 gram serving. It’s best known as an ingredient in Triphala, a popular Ayurvedic remedy. It should also be noted that its presence in some ice creams is not in a therapeutic amount.
- Camu Camu is a South American berry best known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It has 60 times more vitamin C than an orange and is a powerful antioxidant.
- Hibiscus is well-known as a ruby red herbal tea, but is also a vitamin C superstar. Its vitamin storehouse is housed in the calyx, the part that supports the flower. It’s important to note that this herb interacts with chloroquine medications, making them less effective.
- Rose Hips are another delicious herbal tea ingredient that’s high in vitamin C. Depending on the species and the altitude it’s grown at, rose hips contain anywhere from 274 to 1158 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 gram serving.
You can certainly add any or all of these herbal powders to your smoothies, make a tea from them, or put into capsules, but a fun family-friendly way to make them feel like a treat, and that’s with this “Power Ball” recipe. This recipe isn’t suitable for children under 1 year old because of the raw honey. It is, however, wonderful for allergy sufferers, who would rather not utter a sniffle or sneeze during their grocery runs these days.
1 Tablespoon each of 3 different herbs (I like acerola, amla, and camu camu)
Raw, local honey (or Manuka if you need more of an immune boost)
1 Tablespoon citrus peel powder (I like orange)
- Mix the 3 herb powders together. Start adding honey, 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring until a thick paste forms. When you have the right amount of honey and roll this paste around in your hand, it should feel like a soft dough, easy to work with. It should only take a couple of tablespoons at most.
- Once you’ve achieved the right consistency, roll into pea-sized balls and roll in the citrus peel powder to coat.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I recommend taking 1 or 2 after meals like a small, tangy/sweet treat.